Our Justification

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“There is therefore now no condemnation.”
Romans 8:1

Come, my soul, think thou of this. Believing in Jesus, thou art actually and effectually cleared from guilt; thou art led out of thy prison. Thou art no more in fetters as a bond-slave; thou art delivered now from the bondage of the law; thou art freed from sin, and canst walk at large as a freeman; thy Saviour’s blood has procured thy full discharge.

Thou hast a right now to approach thy Father’s throne. No flames of vengeance are there to scare thee now; no fiery sword; justice cannot smite the innocent. Thy disabilities are taken away: thou wast once unable to see thy Father’s face: thou canst see it now. Thou couldst not speak with him: but now thou hast access with boldness. Once there was a fear of hell upon thee; but thou hast no fear of it now, for how can there be punishment for the guiltless?

He who believeth is not condemned, and cannot be punished. And more than all, the privileges thou mightst have enjoyed, if thou hadst never sinned, are thine now that thou art justified. All the blessings which thou wouldst have had if thou hadst kept the law, and more, are thine, because Christ has kept it for thee.

All the love and the acceptance which perfect obedience could have obtained of God, belong to thee, because Christ was perfectly obedient on thy behalf, and hath imputed all his merits to thy account, that thou mightst be exceeding rich through him, who for thy sake became exceeding poor. Oh! how great the debt of love and gratitude thou owest to thy Saviour!

“A debtor to mercy alone,

Of covenant mercy I sing;

Nor fear with thy righteousness on,

My person and offerings to bring:

The terrors of law and of God,

With me can have nothing to do;

My Saviour’s obedience and blood

Hide all my transgressions from view.”

Those Born of the Spirit

Octavius Winslow

Today’s Morning Thought

“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.

Mark how striking is the figure. The wind bids defiance to man’s governing power. It is as sovereign in its influence as it is irresistible in its strength. We cannot command it, nor can we control it. It is alike out of our power to summon it, as it is to soothe it. It comes, we know not where; it goes, we know not where. “So is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

We do not say that the Spirit is not resisted- He is resisted, strongly and perseveringly. But He is not overpowered. All the enmity and carnality of the heart rises in direct opposition to Him; but, when bent upon a mission of love, when, in accordance with the eternal purpose, He comes to save, not all the powers on earth or in hell can effectually resist Him.

Like the mighty force, He bears down all opposition, sweeps away every barrier, overcomes every difficulty, and the sinner, “made willing in the day of His power,” is brought to the feet of Jesus, there meekly and gratefully to sit, “clothed, and in his right mind.” Who can withstand the power of the Spirit? Whether He speaks in the “still small voice” of tender, persuasive love, or whether He comes in the “mighty rushing wind” of deep and overwhelming conviction, His influence is quenchless, His power is irresistible. He effectually works in those who believe.

But His operation is as sovereign as it is mighty. He comes to whom He will; He comes when He will; He comes in the mode He will. He blows where He wills; we hear the sound, we see the effects; but how He works, why He works, and why in a particular way He works, He reveals not to mortals. Even so, O blessed and eternal Spirit, for so it seems good in Your sight.

Our Children

C. H. Spurgeon Faith’s Checkbook entry for today, the 11th day of February, 2017, is especially and painfully relevant. It was not quite 24 hours ago that a father backed his SUV over his 3 year old child at a tree farm in Vero Beach, Florida. I don’t know the family, but that didn’t prevent me from offering up my prayers for both the family and also the child.

There can be found in print and online much thought on the eternal state of children (including the unborn) who die at a young age. The bible offers us no clear answer. And I certainly do not want to delve into a theological discussion which would not be appropriate for this blog. But based on what is revealed about our God in creation, the written Word, and most fully in His Son, to me there is no question. I choose to believe that those who depart this life at a young and tender age, even though tainted by inherited sin, fall under the love and mercy of God. I will leave it at that.

I do not know this family, and therefore do not know if they are believers. But I learned this morning that an elder at our church does know him. I will eventually learn of the family’s faith and will post an update at some point. In the meantime, I ask that you pray for the Surma family in what has to be a time of profound grieving.

As for today’s Faith’s Checkbook entry, I would encourage all of us to continue to pray with great fervor for our own children as well as those close to us through family and friends.  Here is that entry:

Are the Children In?

I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring. (Isaiah 44:3)

Our dear children have not the Spirit of God by nature, as we plainly see. We see much in them which makes us fear as to their future, and this drives us to agonizing prayer. When a son becomes specially perverse, we cry with Abraham, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee!” We would sooner see our daughters Hannahs than empresses. This verse should greatly encourage us. It follows upon the words, “Fear not, O Jacob, my servant,” and it may well banish our fears.

The Lord will give His Spirit; will give it plentifully, pouring it out; will give it effectually, so that it shall be a real and eternal blessing. Under this divine outpouring our children shall come forward, and “one shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob.”

This is one of those promises concerning which the Lord will be inquired of. Should we not, at set times, in a distinct manner, pray for our offspring? We cannot give them new hearts, but the Holy Spirit can; and He is easily to be entreated of. The great Father takes pleasure in the prayers of fathers and mothers. Have we any dear ones outside of the ark? Let us not rest till they are shut in with us by the Lord’s own hand.

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.”
Isaiah 44:22

Attentively observe the instructive similitude: our sins are like a cloud. As clouds are of many shapes and shades, so are our transgressions. As clouds obscure the light of the sun, and darken the landscape beneath, so do our sins hide from us the light of Jehovah’s face, and cause us to sit in the shadow of death. They are earth-born things, and rise from the miry places of our nature; and when so collected that their measure is full, they threaten us with storm and tempest. Alas! that, unlike clouds, our sins yield us no genial showers, but rather threaten to deluge us with a fiery flood of destruction. O ye black clouds of sin, how can it be fair weather with our souls while ye remain?

Let our joyful eye dwell upon the notable act of divine mercy–“blotting out.” God himself appears upon the scene, and in divine benignity, instead of manifesting his anger, reveals his grace: he at once and forever effectually removes the mischief, not by blowing away the cloud, but by blotting it out from existence once for all. Against the justified man no sin remains, the great transaction of the cross has eternally removed his transgressions from him. On Calvary’s summit the great deed, by which the sin of all the chosen was forever put away, was completely and effectually performed.

Practically let us obey the gracious command, “return unto me.” Why should pardoned sinners live at a distance from their God? If we have been forgiven all our sins, let no legal fear withhold us from the boldest access to our Lord. Let backslidings be bemoaned, but let us not persevere in them. To the greatest possible nearness of communion with the Lord, let us, in the power of the Holy Spirit, strive mightily to return. O Lord, this night restore us!

Our Rest

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.                     – Matthew 11:28

Come unto me.—As in the consciousness of this plenitude of power, the Son of Man turns with infinite compassion to those whose weakness and weariness He has shared, and offers them the rest which none other can give them.

Labour and are heavy laden.—The words arc wide enough to cover every form of human sin and sorrow, but the thought that was most prominent in them at the time was that of the burdens grievous to be borne, the yoke of traditions and ordinances which the Pharisees and scribes had imposed on the consciences of men. (Comp. Matthew 23:4, Acts 15:10.) The first of the two words gives prominence to the active, the latter to the passive, aspect of human suffering, by whatever cause produced.

I will give you rest.—The I is emphasized in the Greek. He gives what no one else can give—rest from the burden of sin, from the weariness of fruitless toil.

Our Mark of Life

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Lord, all my desire is before you; and my groaning is not hidden from you.”                  –Psalm 38:9

Many of the Lord’s people cannot clearly read their names in the book of life; many are the doubts and fears that work in their bosom whether the Lord really has begun a work of grace upon their souls, and whether they truly are among the Lord’s living family. But this thing they must know–whether at times and seasons they can lie in humility at the footstool of mercy, and appeal to a heart-searching God–“All my desire is before you.”

They must know whether they ever fell down in humility and brokenness of heart before the divine Majesty, and felt these living desires going out of their bosom into the ears of the Lord of Sabbath; and whether they can, with honesty, uprightness, and godly sincerity, say to the Lord in the language before us, “O Lord, all my desire is before you.” “You see my heart, and know everything that passes in my troubled breast.”

If you can say that, it is a mark of life. If that has been the feeling of your heart from time to time, you find it was the same feeling that worked in the bosom of David. And God saw fit that it should be written by the finger of the Spirit, and placed upon solemn record for the consolation and encouragement of souls in similar circumstances.

Our Divine Leading

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And David inquired of the Lord.”
2 Samuel 5:23

When David made this inquiry he had just fought the Philistines, and gained a signal victory. The Philistines came up in great hosts, but, by the help of God, David had easily put them to flight. Note, however, that when they came a second time, David did not go up to fight them without inquiring of the Lord. Once he had been victorious, and he might have said, as many have in other cases, “I shall be victorious again; I may rest quite sure that if I have conquered once I shall triumph yet again. Wherefore should I tarry to seek at the Lord’s hands?” Not so, David. He had gained one battle by the strength of the Lord; he would not venture upon another until he had ensured the same. He inquired, “Shall I go up against them?” He waited until God’s sign was given.

Learn from David to take no step without God. Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to his sovereign will to choose and to command.

The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does. We must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries, tarry till providence comes. He who goes before providence, will be very glad to run back again. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go,” is God’s promise to his people. Let us, then, take all our perplexities to him, and say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Leave not thy chamber this morning without inquiring of the Lord.

The Name Above All Names

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  – Matthew 1:21

Let us look to the circumstances under which the Son of God entered into this lower world, till we learn to despise the vain honours of this world, when compared with piety and holiness.

The mystery of Christ’s becoming man is to be adored, not curiously inquired into. It was so ordered that Christ should partake of our nature, yet that he should be pure from the defilement of original sin, which has been communicated to all the race of Adam. Observe, it is the thoughtful, not the unthinking, whom God will guide. God’s time to come with instruction to his people, is when they are at a loss. Divine comforts most delight the soul when under the pressure of perplexed thoughts.

Joseph is told that Mary should bring forth the Saviour of the world. He was to call his name Jesus, a Saviour. Jesus is the same name with Joshua. And the reason of that name is clear, for those whom Christ saves, he saves from their sins; from the guilt of sin by the merit of his death, and from the power of sin by the Spirit of his grace. In saving them from sin, he saves them from wrath and the curse, and all misery, here and hereafter.

Christ came to save his people, not in their sins, but from their sins; and so to redeem them from among men, to himself, who is separate from sinners. Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, speedily, without delay, and cheerfully, without dispute. By applying the general rules of the written word, we should in all the steps of our lives, particularly the great turns of them, take direction from God, and we shall find this safe and comfortable.

Upon Hearing His Voice

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
John 5:24-29

Our Lord declared his authority and character, as the Messiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice, as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to his raising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in their graves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised by one who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believe His testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and we shall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach the hearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet for repentance, and prepare for the solemn day.